Partnering with Public Schools

Nine years ago, I arrived at Catawba Heights Baptist Church in Belmont, NC as its Children’s Pastor. Among the first things that I did as Children’s Pastor was to read Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collide by Reggie Joiner. This book shaped my view of ministering to the family like no other. I began to constantly ask the question, “How can I partner with families in such a way that an impact for Christ can be realized at home, at church and at school?” Little did I know that God had fashioned in my heart a burden of being “for my community.”

The church had begun subscribing to 252 Basics a few years prior to my arrival and some of the aspects of the Orange philosophy of ministry had already been implemented. One of the greatest characteristics of our church is its heart of being “for our community.” I began to pray about what God would have us to do that we might be able to have a presence at public schools in the community. Soon thereafter, I noticed on the 252 Basics website that there was a tab labeled, “Partner with Schools.” I quickly clicked on the tab, downloaded a script and began reading about how it was at least a realistic possibility to do assembly programs in public schools focusing on character values.

What further intrigued me was that these character values reflected the same life applications that we were already teaching on Sunday mornings to our children.

Our church has a ministry that involves volunteers going to the schools, picking up left-over food from the lunchroom, and delivering it to homeless shelters in our community. On a day when I knew that one of our amazing ladies was going to a school to pick up food, I printed out a script and said, “Mrs. Sue, would you give this script to the principal at Catawba Heights Elementary and ask her to let me know what she thinks about this?”

A week after Mrs. Sue Pruett delivered the script to the principal, I received a call from the school counselor. When I answered the phone, she said: “David, Mrs. Whitworth asked me to call you and see if we could schedule some of your programs.” I was so stunned that in my mind I said, “Programs?! What programs?! I don’t know what program she is talking about but I would do just about anything to impact children for Jesus Christ!” Then it occurred to me that God had given our church a tremendous opportunity to schedule our first ever Heights Public School XP. Very quickly, we had 8 people on board for our new ministry opportunity. I had an audio/visual specialist, 2 set up/take down crew members, a graphics coordinator, a credible host, a comic host, a dance leader, and me.

We began praying, practicing and preparing for our big day. Before we could make it to our first Heights Public School XP, two more schools called to schedule programs! They had heard through Mrs. Whitworth about the idea of partnering with a church to teach character values and they wanted to do the same.

Fast forward five years. That brings us to today. We recently kicked off year number five at a brand new school. We are currently partnering with twenty schools for live assembly programs. Begin praying that God would open the door for your church to partner with public schools and really begin impacting their young lives by His hands and His feet.

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